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From an unknown writer in California:

I think Americans are far too neurotic about diabetes. The secret is to live a normal life. Tell people close to you but the world is not interested in you.


This question was referred to several members of the Diabetes Team, who have each given an answer:

Answer from Dr. Lebinger:

I think it is amazing that everyone with diabetes isn't incapacitated by overwhelming neurosis. Every minute of the day, people with diabetes must worry, did they eat too much, too little, too early, too late, take too much insulin, not enough, exercise too much or too little? They are asked to test their blood sugar several times a day and feel like the results are their "report card" when in fact, in 1997 we still don't have any way to keep blood sugars perfect in the majority of people with diabetes, no matter how compulsive or "neurotic" they are. We tell them they can lead "normal" lives, but tell them to make sure to do everything possible (even when it interferes with their "normal" lives) to keep their blood sugar normal - even to the point of an occassional "normal" siezure if they aren't compulsive or neurotic enough.

I think we should all accept the fact that we ask people with diabetes to do "not so normal" things so they can lead "normal lives." People with diabetes do not chose to have diabetes. People without diabetes should understand that each individual with diabetes will react to this condition very differently, and should help people they know with diabetes feel comfortable and "normal" by accepting the way each individual copes with this "challange" differently. People who have diabetes themselves must also understand that other people with diabetes may cope with the same "challenge" differently.


Answer from Dr. Quick:

It's no secret that people with diabetes can and should "live a normal life." The trick, really, is to avoid becoming neurotic, by becoming educated on how to live with an impaired pancreas.

I must say that I disagree with the writer of this tirade: I strongly feel that "brushing diabetes under the rug" and hiding the fact that someone we love has diabetes is totally counterproductive: if we don't tell "the world" of the presence of diabetes, our friends and colleagues wouldn't even begin to know how to help to cope with being pancreas-challenged.


Original posting 2 Feb 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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